The LinkedIn Series I wrote this post for was timely, being that I had just left working for an agency to start this company, Happily Contented.
It would be easy for me to launch into all of the amazing things I learned about being an entrepreneur by going through the Techstars Incubator Program in 2008. But, in thinking about this post, it occurs to me that the most important decision any of us can make comes way before the details of what to do in order to #BetheBoss.
Last month I went back to America to visit friends and family for 2 weeks. I started in LA seeing old friends, then went on to NYC for a few meetings and more catchup with friends. Following that I went to see my parents, who I hadn't seen in four years. LA was fantastic and I had the time of my life in NYC. I literally felt on top of the world. While I was in NYC, a friend recommended I see a Broadway play called Kinky Boots. Knowing little about it, I bought myself a ticket. The play was about a son whose father was pressuring him to follow in his footsteps and take on the family business. The son was resisting and instead chose to give in to his fiancee who wanted to move to London where she had an opportunity. The son arrived in London only to receive a call that his father had passed away and he must return to handle things. Long story even longer, he goes back to find the business is failing badly. Through a series of coincidences he ends up pivoting the business, leaving his fiancee and finding happiness and success by following his own dreams.
When I arrived in Nashville my high was brought to a crashing halt for a couple of reasons, one personal and one professional. Both caused me to realize I haven't been living true to myself. I was having lunch with my well-intentioned mother (who let's just say has VERY strong opinions on everything). Upon telling her I had seen this play, she said in a very annoyed tone "Why didn't you see *insert title of play she wanted me to see here*?" It was quite ironic. During my time in Nashville I also caught up with a music attorney friend who for an unknown reason spent an hour telling me how friends and families can be enablers in our staying stuck in unhealthy patterns. All of these signs reminded me of the ultimate truth which is:
"This above all: to thine ownself be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man."
In my opinion, the biggest entrepreneurial decision one can make is a commitment to follow your own heart in all you do. As I dive into my new venture Happily Contented, I can honestly say that for the first time I will not be diminishing myself for anyone, well-intentioned or not. If others are unhappy about my choices, that's okay because they don't have to live my life. I do. I'm the one who has to be happy with my decisions at the end of the day, not to mention at the end of my life. The most entrepreneurial thing I can do is to make decisions based on my own intuition... from my heart. If those decisions fly in the face of what others have tried to impose on me is "the way" to live my life, then so be it. Maybe I will bring those people face to face with their own fears, in which case I'm providing a service for them by being true to myself.
The only way to be 100% authentic is to be 100% yourself. I can officially say it is the most entrepreneurial and freeing decision I have ever made.